From the winner of the inaugural Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition, here is a darkly funny story of obsession, beautifully crafted in embroidery and lino-cut.
Getting yourself a girlfriend is easy, according to Richard. All you need is papier mache, string, soft material, a balloon, some old fashioned bellows, and a good pair of scissors. The difficult bit is keeping her secret.
Set in an English suburb in the early 1990s, The Black Project by Gareth Brookes is the story of Richard’s all-consuming passion for creating ‘girls’ from household objects. But as his hobby begins to flourish, his real-life friendships and family relationships deteriorate. Richard is an unreliable narrator, and the reader responds to his loneliness and his dogged attempt to find a companion while being horrified by his warped creations. The novel’s focus is on the divide between childhood and adulthood; where sex, perversion, and the grotesque feature in their many forms.
‘One of the most powerful and distinctive graphic novels to come out in a long time. I can't recommend this strongly enough – but brace yourself. It may make your skin crawl.’ – Dylan Horrocks
‘Completely bloody amazing. Dark and funny and sad and moving and totally original.’ – Stephen Collins, Winner of the 9th Art Award
‘Brilliant. Clever, inventive and beautifully written.’ – Sarah Lightman, LDComics co-founder and author of The Book of Sarah
‘Sublimely creepy... The matter of fact delivery, through both word and image, works like a gift.’ – Ed Hillyer
‘Extraordinary emphasis on doing and making almost in real time.’ – Sacha Craddock
‘I enjoyed his weirdness.’ – Will Self
‘Utterly bizarre and quite brilliant.’ – Steve Bell
‘A masterpiece of comic timing and an extraordinary feat of imagination and creativity.’ – Pamreader
‘You know a story is great when you want to believe it's real, and I do believe this is real. Also I'm a big fan of nostalgia, I lap it up, and this book is piled high with it.’ – Joe Decie, Comics and Cola
‘All 208 pages of this ominous tale are spectacular, mixing dark lino cuts with embroidery and hand-written text. Pack away the craft materials and get reading.’ – It’s Nice That
‘Brookes has created something truly incredible with his first book... The Black Project is genuinely unlike anything else happening in the graphic medium at the moment.’ – We Love This Book
‘Brilliantly excruciating.’ – Nicola Streeten
‘If you’re in any way interested in alternative comics, and or contemporary textile crafts I urge you to look this one out.’ – Cherry and Cinnamon
‘Like Cath Kidston embroidering for David Lynch.’ – Teddy Jamieson, Herald
‘Very clever, packed with lots of detail, and incredibly well executed.’ – Page 45
‘Exquisite, excruciating and exceptional... a landmark, once read, not easily forgotten.
‘Clandestine first love with a papier mache twist is the order of the day in this remarkable debut... the perfect entry point into the wicked whimsy of [Brookes’s] creative mind.’ – Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier
‘You could follow every detail of the story if you only heard the words, but you’d be missing the half the pointwork.’ – Andrew Moreton, Comiczine FA
‘Brookes plays on that [creeping horror] feeling, adding dark humour and deadpan first-person voiceover to create something really unsettling, genuinely creepy.’ – Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet
‘Painstaking and wonderfully original.’ – Paul Ashley Brown, Comics Bits Online